March 03, 2008

Monday, 3/3 and Tuesday, 3/4

Mon NYT 3:16 (typo!)
Tues NYT 4:43 (error!)
Mon NYS 3:17
Tues NYS 4:12
Tues LAT 2:58
Tues CS 3:15
Onion 4:35
Tausig 5:32

All righty, I'm finally feeling awake enough to remember how to do this crossword-blogging thing. Solve puzzles first, then write. We're playing partial catch-up, but pretending that Saturday and Sunday never happened. Because my son was home from school Monday and my mother visited us, I didn't get around to downloading any of the weekend puzzles. Photocopies of the Saturday and Sunday NYT and the Friday and Saturday LA Times puzzles were available at the tournament—I haven't gotten to the Friday LAT, but the other three were all delightful. Brad Silber for the Sat. LAT = lots of fun and Scrabbly fill. Brendan Quigley for the Sat. NYT = tough themeless and really fun. Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach's Sun. NYT = good theme entries and a fun puzzle, but I did it in an airborne haze). (Just looked at the Sun. NYT answer grid online at Rex's site, bigger and brighter than my paper-and-pencil, stuck-in-a-folder copy. Somebody somewhere had said that the entries were in some sort of alpha order and complete, and I see that is indeed the case. Kool-Aid to KOOL BID is A to B, the next theme entry changes C to D, then E to F, all the way through copy boy –> COPY BOZ with Y to Z. And fully symmetrical to boot, I'll bet. Impressive!)

Mon. NYT by C.W. Stewart: Five phrases starting with GET. Lively theme entries, a little harder to complete than most themes that contain repeated words. Slowish time for a Mon. for me, despite having seen Emily's drawing with two of the entries. Typo! Sticky keyboard! Logy brain!

Gary Disch's Mon. Sun: "Salivation Army" is the title. Each of three theme entries is a savory word + a military/word. Too bad Emily Cureton doesn't make Sun crossword drawings, because STRADDLE, COLONEL MUSTARD, JESUS, MOOING, and OKRAS are evoking some interesting tableaux.

Moving along to the Tues. NYT by Kevin Donovan: Yeah, see? Sleep deprivation is not good for cognition. UPLOADS is absolutelynot a reasonable answer for [Dumps (on)], nor is IRAP an [Oil-rich land]. IRAN! I was waiting to see if I needed an N or Q there and, well, then I forgot about that clue. And I paid zero attention to the theme while I was solving, THAT'S A WRAP means the other theme entries are different types of WRAPs: CELLOPHANE, a FEATHER BOA, and BEEF FAJITA bundled in a tortilla. I also couldn't make any sense out of [Overhead shots] as anything other than aerial photos, so tennis SMASHES required, well, six or seven crossings.

Nancy Salomon's Tues. Sun: I made it through alive! But I'm about ready to go to sleep now, and it's not even 10:00 yet. The "Text Tiles" theme is SCRABBLE, which is in the news of late owing to Scrabulous, the unlicensed online version everybody loves at Facebook. Four phrases are redefined as if they have to do with Scrabble—where DRAWING A BLANK is a good thing, for example. Favorite bits: ORANGE, clued as [Fall color] (although I am so much more!); RAYBAN sunglasses; a delicious SAMOSA (CUMIN was in one of the other puzzles I just did—also yum); FATCAT clued as [Moneybags] (FATCATS was also in one of these other puzzles); and [Carrots' cousins], PARSNIPS. How come we don't call white-haired people Parsnip-top?


Four more crosswords, 40 minutes to solve and blog. Go!

Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle, "It's Getting Darker," has unrelated 15-letter phrases beginning with WHITE, GRAY, and BLACK. Fill highlights: Steve WOZNIAK, CZAR with its usual (outside of crosswords) spelling, TABLOID (clued as [Dirt carrier?]), and L'CHAIM.

Mike Peluso's LA Times crossword has a homophone theme, with pairs like GOOGLE GOOGOL and KRAIT CRATE. Highlights: PEA SOUP fog, the non-Tuesday clue [Lochinvars] for SUITORS, and a modicum of Scrabbliness. ST. PAT reminds me: our waiter at Junior's in Brooklyn was named St. Patrick, but he didn't look at all Irish. And PASS OUT reminds me: Someone passed out during David Kahn's puzzle #5 at the tournament, so there's a new measure for a crossword's difficulty. Did it make anyone lose consciousness? No? Then maybe it's not so tough.

Matt Jones's Onion A.V. Club crossword takes as its theme TV show titles that are literal. NIGHT COURT takes place there, and FRIENDS features a group of friends (but not the Quakers). Fill that tells you this is not the daily newspaper's puzzle: SUGE Knight along with EMINEM, I'm Gonna Git You SUCKA, WHIZ clued as [Leak], MYSPACE and RPG (role-playing game) in the same corner, and actress MYRNA Loy. Okay, that last one goes more with traditional crosswords than with the Onion.

Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle, "Pungs," has nothing to do with the sleigh of that name. Rather, words ending with N add a G to generate puns. Fake tan becomes FAKE TANG (my favorite beverage as a kid—well, real Tang, anyway), and "C'est bon" turns into [Statement in a French head shop?], "C'EST BONG." Tons of interesting fill and clues. DONAHUE [told Bill O'Reilly, "Loud doesn't mean right"]. I haven't seen the Egyptian pyramid city called EL GIZA before. T.S. ELIOT gets the full-name treatment. BIKINIS [have a top and a bottom, but no middle]. Bob Marley's "ONE LOVE," OKSANA Baiul, Swedish KRONOR testing your knowledge of foreign currency. Was not familiar with MF DOOM, the secretive hip-hop artist.